When first beginning to play VGC the amount of knowledge you need to have to be a coherent player can be highly daunting. Many players (including myself) have had a terrible habit of working on too many areas at once which hinders their ability to deeply learn the topics they are studying. Today I want to talk about how I think you should approach learning in VGC so that you are able to progress fast and efficiently without overwhelming yourself!
In VGC there are a few different areas you need to improve upon such as fundamental game sense which encompasses aspects like momentum, flowcharts, resource preservation etc, team building and EVing, as well as data points such as speed tiers, abilities, common items and moves. That’s just to name some of the bigger categories but that’s still a lot of information to learn.
When you have so much information to gain you may feel behind which can cause you to rush to improve, taking in too much information at a time and not allowing for true learning to happen. I can guarantee that this is a recipe for disaster since I have experienced this issue previously, which I wrote about in PokePrep.
Instead there is a much better way to begin learning this information that will guaranteed make you a fantastic, knowledgeable player over a long enough of a timeline.
When improving in VGC I want you to think of it like a school year. You have a lot of curriculum to learn for the final test, but you don’t just get it all at once, you get it segmented over the year. Learning in VGC also works like this, it takes time to master all of these skills, you will need to play 100s if not 1000s of games, study many Pokémon/matches, and work on improving your weak areas one section at a time.
As much as I wish there was a hack to help you learn all of this instantly and get all different types of info to stick in your brain all at once. The reality is you will have to put in the time and effort to effectively learn in one area/subject at a time before adding in more subjects to focus on improving. Also learning every little detail required will take years, if not your whole VGC career. I’m not saying this because you’re a slow learner, but even the most experienced players still have areas they could be more knowledgeable, but they have played for so long and put in the effort to learn all the other areas to a point that it has made them successful.
However, luckily(?) winning in VGC isn’t fully determined by time played, it’s a knowledge game. So even long-time players who have strong fundamentals can lose to newer players if the newer player has more information on the current meta game and can more accurately make optimal plays.
I know you are here to become top level players with a strong foundation AND strong meta game knowledge. And for some they might already have already become proficient in either their fundamentals or their meta game knowledge and can begin working more on the other. However, if you’re newer and don’t have either mastered to a degree then just realize that you may need to take a whole season working on fundamentals before you may see big results. But doing so will make it so next year you are able to use your new found fundamentals and apply them with your growing meta game knowledge and compound them into results.
Once you have pinpointed the level of knowledge you have, then you must start implementing bite size pieces of information one at a time.
Find out what you think are the most important 2-3 things you need to better understand and begin working on those. Once you feel you are proficient at those chosen areas move onto the next 2-3 and rinse and repeat until you have garnered a much larger knowledge base.
To help give you some ideas of what you may need improving upon I am going to list some skills and knowledge points you need to be proficient in. I also will be listing them in an order from beginning to end so that way if you have #3 down but not #1 and #2 then you can go back and learn those so you can more efficiently learn #4 and #5!
General Meta Game Knowledge (common cores/teams, highly popular Pokémon)
Top Pokémon Speed tiers (base speed as well as what the popular investment in speed is), abilities, commonly used moves, and most common items
Base level game sense/flowchart (understanding what your opponents game plan is, what your game plan is and how they interact with each other so you can make as good of a play as possible considering your opponents best plays)
Base level EV spreads optimization (the bump, HP optimizing)
Speed tiers, abilities, common move pool, common items of the viable Pokémon you don’t yet know (if you have waited until this point to begin learning all this you will already have a large understanding of these from the games you have played making it not as daunting of a task as it may seem)
Deep level of EV spread optimizations (Specific EV spreads that are built using the knowledge of the current meta game trends)
Deeper level of game sense (momentum, switch predictions, recourse preservation, etc.) A deep understanding of these are what separate the great from the good
Thank you for reading today’s article! If you enjoyed please give this post a share, or consider checking out my social media for more VGC improvement content. You can find my twitter here, YouTube here, and my twitch channel here. I hope you enjoyed and I wish you a fantastic day!